Once I got my Doepfer Dark Time analog sequencer it was clear I need more analog sequencers. The Analog Solutions Telemark is a nice choice and there are numerous modular sequencer and crazy sequence generators. However, I really have my eye on one of these MFB Urzwergs. The Pro version adds lights that follow the sequencer and MIDI out. I like this box because its small and I find I’m bring my Dark Time out with me to everyone’s studios because well analog sequencing is fun. The Urzwerg also has 4 rows of 8 step sequences which is just awesome. I’m actually not sure what the different is between the Pro and new Pro MKII. Is it just the wooden sides? If the wooden sides are wide enough like the ones on the Dark Time there is a big advantage to them in that you can stand the unit up. The price of the Pro at Schneiders Beuro can’t be beat at 361 Euro!
“MFB’s step-sequencer URZWERG PRO is the extended version of our URZWERG. This advanced version has been inspired by feature requests and suggestions of many users to ensure better flexibility than ever. Most prominently, URZWERG PRO now offers output of MIDI-notes and -controllers as well as 32 individual step LEDs to keep track of the sequences’ status.” – mfberlin.de
So how did he do copying the bassline from Verschwende Deine Jugend? Proper EBM basslines are tough to do without a real analog sequencer.
“ust a small attempt to create a sequence in the style of D.A.F (Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft) recorded with the camera microphone. Gear used: Korg MS20 and MS50 with Sherman filterbank to add some distortion. Korg SQ10. Doepfer quantizer. Korg MS02 to go from the SQ to the Quantizer and back to the MS synths.” – MentallyUnfit
As I am about three fourths of the way done with my next album and my studio is a mass of wires. I’ve become obsessed with syncing my old drum machines and analog synthesizers using various methods. I’m not looking for perfectly quantized MIDI. I’m looking for some Control Voltage madness. Last night’s experiment will definitely make it to a full song. I haven’t shared anything with you in a while with regards to my upcoming music but it’s time I start breaking the ice. The audio sample may not be your cup of tea but the method can be used to create all sorts of nonsense in many music styles.
I have an old Korg Rythm 55 drum machine. I go out of it’s Trig Out to a Doepfer Dark Time analog sequencer’s Click In. On the Korg you can set the sequencer to trigger in various times. If you select a 16th note you will get your typical Giorgio Moroder type of thing. This time I have it set to follow the Korg’s kick drum (blue arrow above). The Doepfer is hooked up to one of the oscillators on an Analogue Solutions Telemark synth (both pitch and filter). This time around I don’t want the Dark Time telling the synth to play different notes. I only want it to Trigger a very slight pitch change and that’s why (see the green arrow) I have the pitch line stop after the second step. The two steps are just slightly detuned. The filter does change open and closed over 8 steps (which you can only hear when the filter is partial closed at the beginning). If you notice there is a grey Midi cable plugged into the top of the Dark Time. If I wanted I could play different notes on my attached MIDI controller and the entire sequencing line would change pitch.
Hit play on the Korg and off we go. I turn up the filter, bring in the Korg’s snare and you have something from a different decade. To add to the whole vintage feel the Korg has some Boss DM-100 on it. You can hear when I hit the fills on the Korg the synth follows and it’s really magic. One last thing to note is if you look at the Analogue Solutions Telemark photo above you see that orange arrow? That points to the other oscillator that’s not being controlled by the Doepfer. Its another reason you hear a detuned sound. I can bring it and the noise knob in and out for great effect (or verse/chorus parts). Time to add the vocals.
“At its most basic, an analog sequencer is nothing but a bank of potentiometers and a “clock” that steps through these potentiometers one at a time and then cycles back to the beginning. The output of the sequencer is fed (as a control voltage and gate pulse) to a synthesizer. By “tuning” the potentiometers, a short repetitive rhythmic motif or riff can be set up.” – Wikipedia
In the late 1960s Mike Matthews worked as a salesmen for IBM. He then started Electro Harmonix in NYC. The legendary effects pedal company is still going strong. His most famous pedal is the Big Muff fuzzbox. I’m far more interested in his very early analog products. One of them is awesomely named the Sequencer Drum. It’s a simple analog synth with an 8 step sequencer. You can hook two together and they will be in sync. You don’t buy these for their features. You buy them for the sound. Like calves liver it’s something not everyone is after. After watching the video above some of you are already on eBay. You won’t find these often. If your looking to recreate an early 80s Soft Cell demo cassette this is a good starting point.
“The Sequencer Drum is one of the rarest Electro Harmonix pedals. Unlike some of the other EH obscurities, this one is actually useful and sounds amazing! Not only is it an 8-step CV/Gate sequencer, but it has a built in synthesizer and a mode that allows you trigger the sequence at a set decay! The leather pad on the front is meant to be tapped to activate the trigger (hence the “drum” in the title). This particular sequencer is the fully patched out version, with an input that allows you to clock the unit externally, and CV and internal Clock outputs for sequencing other synthesizers.” – Matrixsynth (captured eBay description)
Here’s a great video showcasing the newly released Doepfer Dark Time analog sequencer. To get close to the specs you can read the operation manual here: Dark_Time_Manual.pdf. Deopfer has possibly the best resume when it comes to making analog sequencers and their new release may look simple but it has a lot of advanced features.
“The brandnew DARK TIME is a fantastic analog sequencer. It has MIDI, CV / Gate and also TRIGGER IN / OUT for vintage sequencers or rhythm machines. In my opinion, it is much more comfortable than the Korg SQ-10, which I had. The steps run not just forwards – they also can run backwards or in random. Also a great feature is the quantizer – like on the ARP sequencer. In MIDI mode, the two rows can send at two different MIDI channels.” – AnalogAudio1
Are you guys planning on getting one? Or do you already own an analog sequencer?
There’s a classic Front 242 track called Im Rhythmus Bleiben in which the Belgian EBM group scream for you to stay on the rhythm. To do so properly I highly suggest an analog sequencer. Therefore check out the photo of the upcoming (late 2010) Doepfer Dark Time. Doepfer has loaded it up with features and it will run about 450 EURO. This is very high on my acquisition list.
“Dark Time is an analog sequencer that is planned in the first place as an add-on for the Dark Energy. But it may be used even in combination with other Midi, USB or CV/Gate equipment too.” – doepfer.de
Here we have an Analogue Solutions Oberkorn sequencer getting down with a Telemark SEM clone and Leipzig monosynth. I like the Analogue Solutions stuff because it sounds aged out of the box. Most new analog gear sticks on perfect pitch missing the point.
“CVM module. Sequencer is an analogue Oberkorn. Playing two MIDI synths; Telemark (making the crazy sound) and Leipzig-r (warm synth sound). Oberkorn is also controlling velocity (in turn changing the filter cut-off). Joystick just adding a little transpose. Also here you can glimpse my white Red Square.” – ASUKLTD